Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fan Base

Okay, this was weird.

The Florida gubernatorial debate got off to a rocky start Wednesday night when Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) refused to come out because his Democratic opponent, former Gov. Charlie Crist, asked for and received a fan under his podium.

The debate moderators at CBS Miami seemed shocked, wondering aloud what to do for several minutes until Scott finally consented to join Crist on stage. Scott apparently told the hosts that the debate rules banned fans from the stage.

Wow.  Just wow.

For those of you who live outside of Florida and may wonder WTF?, imagine living here where this kind of behavior from Gov. Scott has been going on for the last four years.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Neighbor Hood

Via TPM:

A Boca Raton, Fla. man caused controversy in his neighborhood when he flew a Klu Klux Klan flag in his yard alongside a noose and a sign recruiting new members, WPTV reported on Wednesday.

The man, who identified himself as K. Hayes, defended his right to free speech.

“They never said anything to my face and they’re entitled to their own free speech as well as I am,” he said about neighbors’ complaints.

The Constitution guarantees the right of every American to be an asshole.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

One Way To Get Noticed

From Miami New Times, a local Miami artist makes his objections known to not being known.

Yesterday, art lovers around the world were shocked when someone strolled into the Pérez Art Museum Miami and destroyed a $1 million vase by Ai Weiwei.

Well, the story gets even more shocking. That’s because the vandal wasn’t a political objector or a random crazy person. He was a fellow artist.

The vandal is actually Maximo Caminero, a well-known local painter who has shown works at the Fountain Art Fair. He tells New Times that he destroyed the vase to make a point.

“I did it for all the local artists in Miami that have never been shown in museums here,” he says. “They have spent so many millions now on international artists. It’s the same political situation over and over again. I’ve been here for 30 years and it’s always the same.”

According to a police report, a PAMM security guard saw Caminero pick up the vase yesterday afternoon. When she told him to put down the piece of art, he “threw and broke the vase on the floor in protest.”

Caminero then “spontaneously told [police] that he broke the vase in protest of local artists and that the museum only displayed international artists,” according to the report.

His chances of getting a one-man show at PAMM are officially shot to hell.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Short Takes

Factory fire kills over 100 in Bangladesh.

Egypt’s top judges don’t like President Morsi’s “unprecedented” decrees.

Homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy were robbed over Thanksgiving.

Cops arrest 42 people in a melee after a party in San Jose.

Florida woman arrested for riding a manatee.

“My kingdom for a DNA scan” — Scientists may have found the remains of King Richard III.

 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunday Reading

Is It Possible? — Michael Tomasky on the numbers that point to an Obama win.

There’s a secret lurking behind everything you’re reading about the upcoming election, a secret that all political insiders know—or should—but few are talking about, most likely because it takes the drama out of the whole business. The secret is the electoral college, and the fact is that the more you look at it, the more you come to conclude that Mitt Romney has to draw an inside straight like you’ve never ever seen in a movie to win this thing. This is especially true now that it seems as if Pennsylvania isn’t really up for grabs. Romney’s paths to 270 are few.

First, let’s discuss Pennsylvania. There has been good reason for Democrats to sweat this state. True, Obama won it handily in 2008, by 10 points. But it’s a state that is older and whiter and more working-class than most of America. Obama benefited from all the unique circumstances of 2008 that helped him across the country, but if ever there were a state where the “well, we gave the black guy a chance and he blew it” meme might catch on, it’s the Keystone State.

But the jobless rate there is 7.5 percent, well below the national average. Democratic voter registration has held its own. The Philly suburbs have grown. And this odious voter ID law is facing meaningful challenges. A hearing on the law’s validity has just been concluded. A state judge says he’ll rule on the law’s constitutionality the week of Aug. 13. It sounds as if the law’s opponents made a stronger case at the hearing than its supporters. In any case, the losing side will appeal to the state Supreme Court.

But whatever happens with that law, Pennsylvania has been trending back toward Obama lately. He now holds a lead there of nearly seven points, and he’s close to 50. And as I wrote the other day, Nate Silver now gives Barack Obama a slightly better chance of winning Montana than he does Romney of winning Pennsylvania. That tells you something.

Just remember though: In 1936 the Literary Digest, a reputable magazine of the time, predicted an Alf Landon landslide against FDR, and in 1948 everyone thought Dewey would beat Truman. This is August. We have a long, long way to go.

Carl Hiaasen — Rick, You’ve Got Mail.

An absolutely true news item: To erase the perception that it was censoring public records, the office of Gov. Rick Scott has announced it will no longer delete unflattering correspondence from the governor’s official email account.

Dear Rick,

We received your inquiry about a possible stage appearance with Gov. Romney during his upcoming campaign swing through Florida. Unfortunately, Mitt has a very tight schedule and it’s unlikely he’ll have time to be seen with you.

Perhaps after the election you can come visit him at the White House, or at least take the tour. Meanwhile, keep up your good work in the Sunshine State, and try not to get discouraged by those scary low poll numbers!

Warmest regards,

r.hogshaw@mittforprez.net

Dear Gov. Scott,

I’m a huge supporter of your plan to drug-test state workers and welfare recipients. Wouldn’t it be a neat idea to do the same thing to all the delegates at the Republican National convention this month in Tampa?

What a golden opportunity for the GOP to set a moral example for the whole country, while also showcasing your own unique priorities as governor.

I just happen to own a company that sells urine-sampling kits online for $24.95, but for you we’ll make it an even 20 bucks apiece. What do you say?

j.hosebright@peeforamerica.com

Dear Governor,

I was really upset to read that elections officials in Florida aren’t finding as many illegal voters as everybody expected, and by everybody I mean all red-blooded American patriots such as myself.

What kind of a lame purge are you running, anyway?

The fact that Obama won Florida in 2008 means there must be hundreds of thousands of illegals registered, maybe even some white ones. Just start with a list of whoever voted for that Muslim-loving, basketball-playing socialist, and work your way down.

Get on the stick, man! Time’s running out.

h.dipthong@paranoidsfordemocracy.org

Dear Rick,

I received your latest note asking about Gov. Romney’s appearance schedule while he’s in Florida. It’s very kind of you to offer to fly wherever he is, anytime, and it’s also helpful to know that your private jet needs only 3,200 feet of runway.

However, Gov. Romney’s itinerary remains undecided, and we won’t know anything definite until, oh, four minutes or so before he actually arrives.

It might be Bradenton, might be Sarasota, maybe even St. Pete. That’s our Mitt!

In any case I’m sure your paths will cross some day. Thanks again for not mentioning him in your recent media interviews.

Sincerely,

r.hogshaw@mittforprez.net

The Top Fifty — Richard Brody on why “Vertigo” is the top film on the BFI list.

If Howard Hawks mistakenly opened a door and found a youngish actress there, freshly showered and in a state of unkempt undress, he’d go in and close the door behind him with his hopes high. If Alfred Hitchcock entered the same room with the same occupant in the same state, he’d want to see her coiffed and dressed and made up before knowing what he wanted. That’s why no Hawks movie is to be found on the Sight & Sound top-fifty list, and why “Vertigo” came in at number one. It dramatizes the process by which Hollywood transforms a charismatic person into a beauty: the cosmetic arts, which Hitchcock saw as central to the art of the cinema. For Hitchcock, undress signifies an unhealthy preoccupation with sexual gratification rather than with the object of desire—and desire begins with perfection. He has a sufficient loathing of the human condition to yearn for its drastic improvement before he finds it appealing, and—as singularly expressive and psychologically resonant as his images are—he is perhaps the poster director for cinematic elaboration, for the virtue and power of artifice. (The relevant quote, which I’ve seen in a variety of phrasings, is his assertion that his films aren’t “slices of life” but “slices of cake.”)

With apologies to Claude Lévi-Strauss, the movies on the top fifty are, for the most part, cooked, not raw. Even the top documentary on the list—Dziga Vertov’s “Man with a Movie Camera,” at number nine—is highly inflected and cinematographically elaborate; there’s nothing by Frederick Wiseman or the Maysles brothers or Robert Flaherty. The prominence of films by of Stanley Kubrick (“2001” at number six), Francis Ford Coppola and Andrei Tarkovsky (three each), and Akira Kurosawa (two); the relative absence of Italian neo-realism (“Bicycle Thieves” at thirty-three, “Voyage to Italy”—if that counts—at forty-one); and, in general, the lack of movies where the strings seem looser (e.g. John Cassavetes, Elaine May) indicates that directorial control freaks have a higher standing among the voters than those whose movies reflect heads-up curiosity, spontaneity, and responsiveness to unexpected discovery.

Doonesbury — Nightmare scenario.

Sunday Reading

Is It Possible? — Michael Tomasky on the numbers that point to an Obama win.

There’s a secret lurking behind everything you’re reading about the upcoming election, a secret that all political insiders know—or should—but few are talking about, most likely because it takes the drama out of the whole business. The secret is the electoral college, and the fact is that the more you look at it, the more you come to conclude that Mitt Romney has to draw an inside straight like you’ve never ever seen in a movie to win this thing. This is especially true now that it seems as if Pennsylvania isn’t really up for grabs. Romney’s paths to 270 are few.

First, let’s discuss Pennsylvania. There has been good reason for Democrats to sweat this state. True, Obama won it handily in 2008, by 10 points. But it’s a state that is older and whiter and more working-class than most of America. Obama benefited from all the unique circumstances of 2008 that helped him across the country, but if ever there were a state where the “well, we gave the black guy a chance and he blew it” meme might catch on, it’s the Keystone State.

But the jobless rate there is 7.5 percent, well below the national average. Democratic voter registration has held its own. The Philly suburbs have grown. And this odious voter ID law is facing meaningful challenges. A hearing on the law’s validity has just been concluded. A state judge says he’ll rule on the law’s constitutionality the week of Aug. 13. It sounds as if the law’s opponents made a stronger case at the hearing than its supporters. In any case, the losing side will appeal to the state Supreme Court.

But whatever happens with that law, Pennsylvania has been trending back toward Obama lately. He now holds a lead there of nearly seven points, and he’s close to 50. And as I wrote the other day, Nate Silver now gives Barack Obama a slightly better chance of winning Montana than he does Romney of winning Pennsylvania. That tells you something.

Just remember though: In 1936 the Literary Digest, a reputable magazine of the time, predicted an Alf Landon landslide against FDR, and in 1948 everyone thought Dewey would beat Truman. This is August. We have a long, long way to go.

Carl Hiaasen — Rick, You’ve Got Mail.

An absolutely true news item: To erase the perception that it was censoring public records, the office of Gov. Rick Scott has announced it will no longer delete unflattering correspondence from the governor’s official email account.

Dear Rick,

We received your inquiry about a possible stage appearance with Gov. Romney during his upcoming campaign swing through Florida. Unfortunately, Mitt has a very tight schedule and it’s unlikely he’ll have time to be seen with you.

Perhaps after the election you can come visit him at the White House, or at least take the tour. Meanwhile, keep up your good work in the Sunshine State, and try not to get discouraged by those scary low poll numbers!

Warmest regards,

r.hogshaw@mittforprez.net

Dear Gov. Scott,

I’m a huge supporter of your plan to drug-test state workers and welfare recipients. Wouldn’t it be a neat idea to do the same thing to all the delegates at the Republican National convention this month in Tampa?

What a golden opportunity for the GOP to set a moral example for the whole country, while also showcasing your own unique priorities as governor.

I just happen to own a company that sells urine-sampling kits online for $24.95, but for you we’ll make it an even 20 bucks apiece. What do you say?

j.hosebright@peeforamerica.com

Dear Governor,

I was really upset to read that elections officials in Florida aren’t finding as many illegal voters as everybody expected, and by everybody I mean all red-blooded American patriots such as myself.

What kind of a lame purge are you running, anyway?

The fact that Obama won Florida in 2008 means there must be hundreds of thousands of illegals registered, maybe even some white ones. Just start with a list of whoever voted for that Muslim-loving, basketball-playing socialist, and work your way down.

Get on the stick, man! Time’s running out.

h.dipthong@paranoidsfordemocracy.org

Dear Rick,

I received your latest note asking about Gov. Romney’s appearance schedule while he’s in Florida. It’s very kind of you to offer to fly wherever he is, anytime, and it’s also helpful to know that your private jet needs only 3,200 feet of runway.

However, Gov. Romney’s itinerary remains undecided, and we won’t know anything definite until, oh, four minutes or so before he actually arrives.

It might be Bradenton, might be Sarasota, maybe even St. Pete. That’s our Mitt!

In any case I’m sure your paths will cross some day. Thanks again for not mentioning him in your recent media interviews.

Sincerely,

r.hogshaw@mittforprez.net

The Top Fifty — Richard Brody on why “Vertigo” is the top film on the BFI list.

If Howard Hawks mistakenly opened a door and found a youngish actress there, freshly showered and in a state of unkempt undress, he’d go in and close the door behind him with his hopes high. If Alfred Hitchcock entered the same room with the same occupant in the same state, he’d want to see her coiffed and dressed and made up before knowing what he wanted. That’s why no Hawks movie is to be found on the Sight & Sound top-fifty list, and why “Vertigo” came in at number one. It dramatizes the process by which Hollywood transforms a charismatic person into a beauty: the cosmetic arts, which Hitchcock saw as central to the art of the cinema. For Hitchcock, undress signifies an unhealthy preoccupation with sexual gratification rather than with the object of desire—and desire begins with perfection. He has a sufficient loathing of the human condition to yearn for its drastic improvement before he finds it appealing, and—as singularly expressive and psychologically resonant as his images are—he is perhaps the poster director for cinematic elaboration, for the virtue and power of artifice. (The relevant quote, which I’ve seen in a variety of phrasings, is his assertion that his films aren’t “slices of life” but “slices of cake.”)

With apologies to Claude Lévi-Strauss, the movies on the top fifty are, for the most part, cooked, not raw. Even the top documentary on the list—Dziga Vertov’s “Man with a Movie Camera,” at number nine—is highly inflected and cinematographically elaborate; there’s nothing by Frederick Wiseman or the Maysles brothers or Robert Flaherty. The prominence of films by of Stanley Kubrick (“2001” at number six), Francis Ford Coppola and Andrei Tarkovsky (three each), and Akira Kurosawa (two); the relative absence of Italian neo-realism (“Bicycle Thieves” at thirty-three, “Voyage to Italy”—if that counts—at forty-one); and, in general, the lack of movies where the strings seem looser (e.g. John Cassavetes, Elaine May) indicates that directorial control freaks have a higher standing among the voters than those whose movies reflect heads-up curiosity, spontaneity, and responsiveness to unexpected discovery.

Doonesbury — Nightmare scenario.

Friday, July 13, 2012

She Said/She Said

Things are getting a little weird in Tallahassee.

As part of her defense in a criminal trial, a former aide to Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll said she caught the lieutenant governor in “a compromising position” with another aide shortly before being fired last year.

The allegations are part of the ongoing prosecution of Carletha Cole, a former aide to Carroll who shared a recording of a conversation with Carroll’s chief of staff with a reporter for the Florida Times-Union, a Jacksonville newspaper, after she was fired.

Cole has been charged with disclosing that recorded conversation.

Cole’s motion, filed in response to the state’s efforts to keep some records sealed, portrays a dysfunctional office where Carroll’s aides frequently recorded conversations and the lieutenant governor pushed for a website where fans could follow her. It also says Steve MacNamara, former chief of staff for Gov. Rick Scott, viewed Carroll as a “loose cannon,” in the words of the filing.

But its most sensational anecdote concerns Cole inadvertently walking in on what she believed to be a sexual encounter between Carroll and a female employee.

Ms. Carroll has been seen as a rising star in the Florida GOP. Knowing the way politics works in this state, this could be a help.

She Said/She Said

Things are getting a little weird in Tallahassee.

As part of her defense in a criminal trial, a former aide to Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll said she caught the lieutenant governor in “a compromising position” with another aide shortly before being fired last year.

The allegations are part of the ongoing prosecution of Carletha Cole, a former aide to Carroll who shared a recording of a conversation with Carroll’s chief of staff with a reporter for the Florida Times-Union, a Jacksonville newspaper, after she was fired.

Cole has been charged with disclosing that recorded conversation.

Cole’s motion, filed in response to the state’s efforts to keep some records sealed, portrays a dysfunctional office where Carroll’s aides frequently recorded conversations and the lieutenant governor pushed for a website where fans could follow her. It also says Steve MacNamara, former chief of staff for Gov. Rick Scott, viewed Carroll as a “loose cannon,” in the words of the filing.

But its most sensational anecdote concerns Cole inadvertently walking in on what she believed to be a sexual encounter between Carroll and a female employee.

Ms. Carroll has been seen as a rising star in the Florida GOP. Knowing the way politics works in this state, this could be a help.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Short Takes

Another high-level Syrian has defected.

Secretary of State Clinton visited Laos, the first high-ranking U.S. diplomat to do that since the end of the Vietnam war.

A federal judge has kept the injunction against the new Mississippi anti-abortion bill in place.

The president of Florida A&M has resigned in the wake of the hazing death scandal.

Need a job? London needs 3,500 more security guards for the Olympics.

Florida schools brace for the FCAT results.

Family matters — Weird things happen when rich people get divorced.

Short Takes

Another high-level Syrian has defected.

Secretary of State Clinton visited Laos, the first high-ranking U.S. diplomat to do that since the end of the Vietnam war.

A federal judge has kept the injunction against the new Mississippi anti-abortion bill in place.

The president of Florida A&M has resigned in the wake of the hazing death scandal.

Need a job? London needs 3,500 more security guards for the Olympics.

Florida schools brace for the FCAT results.

Family matters — Weird things happen when rich people get divorced.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Keep Digging

It never goes away, does it?

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Lawyers for President Barack Obama and Gov. Rick Scott’s administration asked a judge Monday to dismiss a ballot challenge that alleges Obama is not a “natural born citizen.”

Circuit Judge Terry Lewis did not immediately rule. He gave lawyers on both sides a week to submit proposed orders.

The lawsuit by Fort Lauderdale automobile salesman Michael Voeltz asks that Obama be removed from the state’s 2012 ballot.

Attorneys for the Democratic president and the Florida Department of State under the Republican governor argued that can’t be done because Obama hasn’t yet been nominated. Obama lawyer Mark Herron also told Lewis that federal law precludes state courts from determining the qualifications of presidential candidates.

Conservative legal activist Larry Klayman, who is representing Voeltz, questioned Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate and contended that even if the president was born in the United States he still is not a natural citizen because his father was a foreign national.

Klayman later said U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who is considered as a potential vice presidential nominee, also wouldn’t qualify because his parents weren’t U.S. citizens when he was born.

Keep Digging

It never goes away, does it?

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Lawyers for President Barack Obama and Gov. Rick Scott’s administration asked a judge Monday to dismiss a ballot challenge that alleges Obama is not a “natural born citizen.”

Circuit Judge Terry Lewis did not immediately rule. He gave lawyers on both sides a week to submit proposed orders.

The lawsuit by Fort Lauderdale automobile salesman Michael Voeltz asks that Obama be removed from the state’s 2012 ballot.

Attorneys for the Democratic president and the Florida Department of State under the Republican governor argued that can’t be done because Obama hasn’t yet been nominated. Obama lawyer Mark Herron also told Lewis that federal law precludes state courts from determining the qualifications of presidential candidates.

Conservative legal activist Larry Klayman, who is representing Voeltz, questioned Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate and contended that even if the president was born in the United States he still is not a natural citizen because his father was a foreign national.

Klayman later said U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who is considered as a potential vice presidential nominee, also wouldn’t qualify because his parents weren’t U.S. citizens when he was born.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday Reading

Sounds Familiar — Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic remembers those old tech sounds.

Of all the noises that my children will not understand, the one that is nearest to my heart is not from a song or a television show or a jingle. It’s the sound of a modem connecting with another modem across the repurposed telephone infrastructure. It was the noise of being part of the beginning of the Internet.

I heard that sound again this week on Brendan Chillcut’s simple and wondrous site: The Museum of Endangered Sounds. It takes technological objects and lets you relive the noises they made: Tetris, the Windows 95 startup chime, that Nokia ringtone, television static. The site archives not just the intentional sounds — ringtones, etc — but the incidental ones, like the mechanical noise a VHS tape made when it entered the VCR or the way a portable CD player sounded when it skipped. If you grew up at a certain time, these sounds are like technoaural nostalgia whippets. One minute, you’re browsing the Internet in 2012, the next you’re on a bus headed up I-5 to an 8th grade football game against Castle Rock in 1995.

The noises our technologies make, as much as any music, are the soundtrack to an era. Soundscapes are not static; completely new sets of frequencies arrive, old things go. Locomotives rumbled their way through the landscapes of 19th century New England, interrupting Nathaniel Hawthorne-types’ reveries in Sleepy Hollows. A city used to be synonymous with the sound of horse hooves and the clatter of carriages on the stone streets. Imagine the people who first heard the clicks of a bike wheel or the vroom of a car engine. It’s no accident that early films featuring industrial work often include shots of steam whistles, even though in many (say, Metropolis) we can’t hear that whistle.You could feel two things trying to come into sync: Were those things computers or were they actually me and my version of the world? Everyone knew what it sounded like and how big the changes it signaled were.

When I think of 2012, I will think of the overworked fan of my laptop and the ding of getting a text message on my iPhone. I will think of the beep of the FastTrak in my car as it debits my credit card so I can pass through a toll onto the Golden Gate Bridge. I will think of Siri’s uncanny valley voice.

But to me, all of those sounds — as symbols of the era in which I’ve come up — remain secondary to the hissing and crackling of the modem handshake. I first heard that sound as a nine-year-old. To this day, I can’t remember how I figured out how to dial the modem of our old Zenith. Even more mysterious is how I found the BBS number to call or even knew what a BBS was. But I did. BBS were dial-in communities, kind of like a local AOL. You could post messages and play games, even chat with people on the bigger BBSs. It was personal: sometimes, you’d be the only person connected to that community. Other times, there’d be one other person, who was almost definitely within your local prefix.

Click on the link to take a stroll down sounds’ memory lane.

Green and Gay — An iconic comic book star comes out.

Green Lantern, one of DC Comics’ oldest and most enduring heroes, is serving as a beacon for the publisher again, this time as a proud, mighty and openly gay hero.

The change is revealed in the pages of the second issue of “Earth 2” out next week, and comes on the heels of what has been an expansive year for gay and lesbian characters in the pages of comic books from Archie to Marvel and others.

But purists and fans note: This Green Lantern is not the emerald galactic space cop Hal Jordan who was, and is, part of the Justice League and has had a history rich in triumph and tragedy.

Instead, he’s a parallel earth Green Lantern. James Robinson, who writes the new series, said Alan Scott is the retooled version of the classic Lantern whose first appearance came in the pages of “All-American Comics” No. 16 in July 1940.

And his being gay is not part of some wider story line meant to be exploited or undone down the road, either.

“This was my idea,” Robinson explained this week, noting that before DC relaunched all its titles last summer, Alan Scott had a son who was gay.

But given “Earth 2” features retooled and rebooted characters, Scott is not old enough to have a grown son.

“By making him younger, that son was not going to exist anymore,” Robinson said.

“He doesn’t come out. He’s gay when we see him in issue two,” which is due out Wednesday. “He’s fearless and he’s honest to the point where he realized he was gay and he said ‘I’m gay.’”

It’s another example of gay and lesbian characters taking more prominent roles in the medium.

In May, Marvel Entertainment said super speedster Northstar will marry his longtime boyfriend in the pages of “Astonishing X-Men.” DC comics has other gay characters, too, including Kate Kane, the current Batwoman, The Question, and married characters Apollo and the Midnighter.

And in the pages of Archie Comics, Kevin Keller is one of the gang at Riverdale High School and gay, too.

Must Be Miami — Carl Hiaasen takes a look at the face-eating zombie.

All of us who live in Florida struggle to explain this bizarre place to distant friends and family.

The task got somewhat easier after the 2000 presidential election, which showcased the state’s unique style of dysfunction to a vast international audience. Since then, people who live elsewhere seem not so easily mortified by anything that happens here.

Take the dreadful case of the naked cannibal.

I’d be willing to bet that in no other city but Miami would the following quote appear matter-of-factly in a crime story: “Rudy was not a face-eating zombie monster.”

Those words come from a high school friend of Rudy Eugene, who chewed the flesh off a homeless man’s face on Memorial Day weekend. Eugene first removed his own clothes and then tore off the trousers of his victim, 65-year-old Ronald Poppo.

The gruesome biting attack, reported by passers-by, took about 18 minutes. It didn’t end until Eugene was shot dead by a policeman and physically separated from the gravely injured Poppo.

All this occurred on a Saturday morning on a ramp of the MacArthur Causeway, practically within fast-break distance of the American Airlines Arena where the Miami Heat plays.

Doonesbury — Vetting.

Sunday Reading

Sounds Familiar — Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic remembers those old tech sounds.

Of all the noises that my children will not understand, the one that is nearest to my heart is not from a song or a television show or a jingle. It’s the sound of a modem connecting with another modem across the repurposed telephone infrastructure. It was the noise of being part of the beginning of the Internet.

I heard that sound again this week on Brendan Chillcut’s simple and wondrous site: The Museum of Endangered Sounds. It takes technological objects and lets you relive the noises they made: Tetris, the Windows 95 startup chime, that Nokia ringtone, television static. The site archives not just the intentional sounds — ringtones, etc — but the incidental ones, like the mechanical noise a VHS tape made when it entered the VCR or the way a portable CD player sounded when it skipped. If you grew up at a certain time, these sounds are like technoaural nostalgia whippets. One minute, you’re browsing the Internet in 2012, the next you’re on a bus headed up I-5 to an 8th grade football game against Castle Rock in 1995.

The noises our technologies make, as much as any music, are the soundtrack to an era. Soundscapes are not static; completely new sets of frequencies arrive, old things go. Locomotives rumbled their way through the landscapes of 19th century New England, interrupting Nathaniel Hawthorne-types’ reveries in Sleepy Hollows. A city used to be synonymous with the sound of horse hooves and the clatter of carriages on the stone streets. Imagine the people who first heard the clicks of a bike wheel or the vroom of a car engine. It’s no accident that early films featuring industrial work often include shots of steam whistles, even though in many (say, Metropolis) we can’t hear that whistle.You could feel two things trying to come into sync: Were those things computers or were they actually me and my version of the world? Everyone knew what it sounded like and how big the changes it signaled were.

When I think of 2012, I will think of the overworked fan of my laptop and the ding of getting a text message on my iPhone. I will think of the beep of the FastTrak in my car as it debits my credit card so I can pass through a toll onto the Golden Gate Bridge. I will think of Siri’s uncanny valley voice.

But to me, all of those sounds — as symbols of the era in which I’ve come up — remain secondary to the hissing and crackling of the modem handshake. I first heard that sound as a nine-year-old. To this day, I can’t remember how I figured out how to dial the modem of our old Zenith. Even more mysterious is how I found the BBS number to call or even knew what a BBS was. But I did. BBS were dial-in communities, kind of like a local AOL. You could post messages and play games, even chat with people on the bigger BBSs. It was personal: sometimes, you’d be the only person connected to that community. Other times, there’d be one other person, who was almost definitely within your local prefix.

Click on the link to take a stroll down sounds’ memory lane.

Green and Gay — An iconic comic book star comes out.

Green Lantern, one of DC Comics’ oldest and most enduring heroes, is serving as a beacon for the publisher again, this time as a proud, mighty and openly gay hero.

The change is revealed in the pages of the second issue of “Earth 2” out next week, and comes on the heels of what has been an expansive year for gay and lesbian characters in the pages of comic books from Archie to Marvel and others.

But purists and fans note: This Green Lantern is not the emerald galactic space cop Hal Jordan who was, and is, part of the Justice League and has had a history rich in triumph and tragedy.

Instead, he’s a parallel earth Green Lantern. James Robinson, who writes the new series, said Alan Scott is the retooled version of the classic Lantern whose first appearance came in the pages of “All-American Comics” No. 16 in July 1940.

And his being gay is not part of some wider story line meant to be exploited or undone down the road, either.

“This was my idea,” Robinson explained this week, noting that before DC relaunched all its titles last summer, Alan Scott had a son who was gay.

But given “Earth 2” features retooled and rebooted characters, Scott is not old enough to have a grown son.

“By making him younger, that son was not going to exist anymore,” Robinson said.

“He doesn’t come out. He’s gay when we see him in issue two,” which is due out Wednesday. “He’s fearless and he’s honest to the point where he realized he was gay and he said ‘I’m gay.’”

It’s another example of gay and lesbian characters taking more prominent roles in the medium.

In May, Marvel Entertainment said super speedster Northstar will marry his longtime boyfriend in the pages of “Astonishing X-Men.” DC comics has other gay characters, too, including Kate Kane, the current Batwoman, The Question, and married characters Apollo and the Midnighter.

And in the pages of Archie Comics, Kevin Keller is one of the gang at Riverdale High School and gay, too.

Must Be Miami — Carl Hiaasen takes a look at the face-eating zombie.

All of us who live in Florida struggle to explain this bizarre place to distant friends and family.

The task got somewhat easier after the 2000 presidential election, which showcased the state’s unique style of dysfunction to a vast international audience. Since then, people who live elsewhere seem not so easily mortified by anything that happens here.

Take the dreadful case of the naked cannibal.

I’d be willing to bet that in no other city but Miami would the following quote appear matter-of-factly in a crime story: “Rudy was not a face-eating zombie monster.”

Those words come from a high school friend of Rudy Eugene, who chewed the flesh off a homeless man’s face on Memorial Day weekend. Eugene first removed his own clothes and then tore off the trousers of his victim, 65-year-old Ronald Poppo.

The gruesome biting attack, reported by passers-by, took about 18 minutes. It didn’t end until Eugene was shot dead by a policeman and physically separated from the gravely injured Poppo.

All this occurred on a Saturday morning on a ramp of the MacArthur Causeway, practically within fast-break distance of the American Airlines Arena where the Miami Heat plays.

Doonesbury — Vetting.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Short Takes

Dozens of children have been killed in attacks in Syria.

Iran is not ready for visitors to inspect their nukes.

The butler did it — The Vatican is in chaos after the pope’s butler has been arrested for leaks.

Gruesome — Miami Police were forced to kill a naked man chewing on another man’s face.

Tropical Update: Beryl could barrel through Jacksonville.

The Tigers win against the Twins.